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Match report: Chelsea 2 Bradford City 4

The Blues are out of the FA Cup after Bradford came from two goals down to record an upset at the Bridge.

It looked like being a routine afternoon on our home turf after goals from Gary Cahill and Ramires, but Jon Stead fired a goal back for the Bantams minutes before the break.

Our visitors continued to pose a threat after it and equalised with a quarter-of-an-hour to go through Filipe Morais after Cech had saved well from Billy Knott.

They then completed the turnaround on 82 minutes courtesy of a fine Andy Halliday strike and their win was sealed in injury time through substitute Mark Yeates. Didier Drogba and Kurt Zouma both had chances between the League One side’s third and fourth goals to level but it was those in claret and amber celebrating at the final whistle after our first home loss of the season.

Team news

There were nine changes to the team that drew with Liverpool on Tuesday night but the team still had a very strong feel to it with Petr Cech in goal, captain Drogba up front and Mikel and Ramires in the middle of the park.

Andreas Christensen began on the right of defence – his first home appearance - with Cesar Azpilicueta on the left and, as promised by the manager yesterday, Cahill and Zouma in the middle. Mohamed Salah and Loic Remy provided the attacking width either side of Oscar.

The bench included league regulars Thibaut Courtois, John Terry, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard and Willian, alongside youngsters Nathan Ake and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

First half

Drogba fired into the Shed Upper early on after good work by Salah before Petr Cech had to be at his outstanding best to stop what looked a certain goal at the other end five minutes later. It needed the head of Cahill to deflect Gary Liddle’s dipping volley over and from the resulting corner, Andrew Davies got free. His header was on its way in but Cech’s reactions were immense and the strength of his left hand just as good.

It was quite some stop and the Matthew Harding Stand rose as one to applaud their Czech keeper. Peter Bonetti, a half-time guest along with fellow 1970 FA Cup legends Ron Harris and John Hollins, must have also been mighty impressed.

In response Remy forced Ben Williams into his first save of the afternoon and Oscar fired wide from outside the box.

It was from the second of two Oscar corners in succession that we then took the lead midway through the half. His delivery from the left was to the near post and Cahill darted into the open space before delicately flicking the ball into the roof of net with the outside of his boot. The big centre-back can’t have scored many better goals.  

Drogba, heavily involved throughout, worked himself out of a tight spot near the touchline with some wonderful skill. He instinctively curled for goal but the diving Williams was impressively equal to it, making it one great save apiece.

Remy and Salah seemed to get in one another’s way as they attempted to latch onto a Drogba through-ball soon after and when Rory McArdle clattered into the Ivorian from behind, he became the game’s first booking.

The Blues were now well on top and on 38 minutes we doubled our advantage.

Ramires won the ball up in midfield, drove at the retreating Bradford backline, exchanged passes with Salah and finished cutely with his left off the inside of the post - his third goal of of an injury-interrupted season.

Any thoughts it would be all plain sailing from then on in were extinguished within three minutes, however.

Jon Stead picked up a loose ball on the edge of our box after we didn’t fully clear a deep Bradford free-kick, created a yard of space for himself and thrashed a left-footed shot high into the very corner of the net. The man with Premier League pedigree had brought his side right back into the game.

Second half

Within a couple of minutes of the restart Salah took his time before dinking Remy in but after teeing himself up the Frenchman volleyed just wide.

Bradford, now attacking the end in which their supporters were housed, forced a couple of corners and from the second, the big forward Hanson headed  straight at Cech, who was then called upon to tip former Blue Filipe Morais’ angled drive over. Another player from our Academy, Billy Knott, curled over after good work from Stead.

We were by no means in control at this point though Salah with a bending 20-yarder wasn’t far away from netting our third of the day on the hour. At the other end Knott floored Zouma when his volley hit the 20-year-old square in the face.

Our defender was soon back on his feet but Mikel didn’t have such luck and had to be replaced after a clash of heads left him bloodied and bruised. Salah also made way with Willian and Fabregas introduced.

The latter immediately backheeled to Oscar who shot wide and then Drogba met one of the Spaniard’s free-kicks with a towering header – straight at Williams.

Bradford’s aerial prowess remained a threat and it was via this route that they levelled the score with 15 minutes to go.

A long throw was flicked on by Hanson to Knott whose first-time shot on the slide was saved by Cech with his feet. The rebound fell to the unmarked Morais who couldn’t miss.

Mourinho immediately sent Hazard on and there followed a good spell of Blues pressure but it was Bradford who struck again.

Stead controlled the ball with his back to goal inside the area and laid it back to Halliday, whose first-time shot on the run was hard and true, and beyond Cech’s reach.

Mourinho sent Zouma up front alongside Drogba and he flicked on a Fabregas cross but Drogba on the stretch could only head agonisingly over. Zouma then blazed a Ramires cut-back well over.

Seven minutes of additional time were signalled but it was our visitors from Yorkshire who netted the sixth goal of the game. Stead held the ball up well again and slipped in sub Yeates who sent Cech the wrong way with a cool finish. The Bradford players and fans celebrated long after the final whistle.

We may be out of this competition but we have the opportunity to reach the final of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday when Liverpool visit the Bridge for the second leg of the semi-final.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Christensen, Cahill, Zouma, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Mikel (Fabregas 70); Remy (Hazard 76), Oscar, Salah (Willian 70); Drogba (c).
Unused subs Courtois, Terry, Ake, Loftus-Cheek.
Scorers Cahill 21, Ramires 38

Bradford City (4-4-2): Williams; Darby (c), Davies, McArdle, Meredith; Morais (Clarke 89), Knott (Yeates 80), Halliday (Routis 87), Liddle; Hanson, Stead.
Unused Subs Urwin, Sheehan, Clarke, Kennedy, Zoko.
Scorers Stead 42, Morais 75, Halliday 82, Yeates 90+4
Booked Liddle 20, McArdle 23, Halliday 83 Clarke 90+1

Referee Andre Marriner
Crowd 41,014